Oh, you’re a Writer! Have you thought about how you’re going to make money? (Possibly my favorite Progressive commercial) So you have written the next seven-book series that’s going to take the world by storm, but now things are at a standstill and you’re staring down the daunting task of Marketing. Don’t worry we have Three Tips for Marketing your Book.
It’s one thing to have a great book, but do you really think people are going to find it if they can’t even find you? Your author website is your first point of contact with readers. It needs to be professional and provide the right information in an easy-to-use manner so that people can find you when they’re looking for new books to read! When you self-publish, it is important for your website to reflect the high standards of professionalism that are expected. Your site should have an aesthetically pleasing design and be well organized so readers can find what they’re looking for easily, but more importantly, is that you have the site so that you have that digital presence (even if the site doesn’t look professional done).
At Serious Writer, we stress how vital good publishing practices are in order not just to produce a book but also to market one effectively too! You may believe all this work has been done already though when actually there’s plenty more left ahead – which could lead people down false paths. Word Press is a great tool that we recommend and use for creating your online website.
LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA
One of the best ways to get a conversation started is by using social media. But authors often neglect their own platforms in favor of more traditional forms like letters or face-to-face interactions—which can leave them missing out on opportunities! You should be posting regularly, staying active, and engaging with readers who may not always look at what you post but still want information from your account because it’s there waiting just about anywhere someone might find themselves scrolling downlinks without thinking too hard. It’s about creating a fire and then keeping it stoked. You would be amazed at quickly a following can grow with a daily 30-second video. The key isn’t necessarily how many followers one has though, it’s carving out their space while building up an army of readers who are passionate enough about your writing to bring you more attention than ever before! Check out what Bethany Jett has to say about this subject on the Serious Writer Podcast.
Often writers underestimate the power or don’t even think of preorders in their marketing strategy. It is important to get your audience excited about your book before it launches. Pre-ordering has been shown in studies as an effective marketing strategy for self-published authors because they have more control over when customers will be able to access content like copies or even review copies if ordered early enough–and this also gives them an incentive not only to gain momentum but establish themselves well within certain genres by being seen among other popular titles on Amazon’s ranking lists (for example “bestseller”).
As we said earlier Marketing is a daunting and feared task, but the key is not to get discouraged. There are plenty of resources and people that can help you get started in the right direction. And for more Marketing, Writing, and Publishing tips checkout Cyle Young and Bethany Jett on the Serious Writer Podcast, available on Android and iOS.
Several don’t exist for query letters, and entire books have been dedicating to perfecting the art of querying agents and editors. That being said, as I am a literary agent writing this blog post, I have several examples of things that would fit in that don’t category that I see most often.
We’ve already covered a post on what to DO. Let’s dive into those DON’T categories.
DON’T: Be Demanding
I was in the querying trenches a few years back, I understand. You’ve sent hundreds of submissions, and you want:
Answers as to why people have turned you down
Referrals to other agents if this one will turn you down
And most important: an agent or a book deal
But you do have to keep in mind that we get literally thousands of submissions each year. If we provide any feedback or referrals, it’s on our own unpaid time.
Don’t ask for referrals or extensive feedback. The agent or editor will provide it if they see promise in your manuscript.
(You can put Ms. Bolinger if you want, but really make sure to research someone’s preferred pronouns before putting a Mr. or Ms. It’s often simpler just to do their name).
DON’T: Be Unrealistic
Who wouldn’t love for their book to be picked up by Netflix or Disney+. But we have to be realistic. Unless you have to have connections someone who already secured a Netflix deal for you don’t say, “This is going to be the next Netflix hit.”
Be realistic with social media numbers too. I may have 30,000 followers, but let me tell you, I did not have 30,000 of my followers buy my book when I released in June 2019. Talk about platform, but don’t say that that alone will get you sales.
DON’T: Be Rude
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how poorly people take rejections. As someone who has been rejected literally hundreds (if not thousands at this point) of times, I know how to take a punch.
Don’t ask them to reconsider. Don’t say, “Well, J.K. Rowling got rejected XYZ times, and those publishers sure were sorry.” Don’t insult their agency, their position, or their publishing house.
Simply say, “Thank you for your time,” when they reject you. Believe me, you don’t want to burn bridges in this industry. And industry members do talk.
I have rejected people previously because I’ve heard from others that they were too hard to work with or badgered them constantly on social media for updates. While we’re at it …
DON’T: Pitch Them on Social Media
There is one exception: If they are participating in a Twitter Pitch Party. But even then, they require you to submit via email or Submittable if they like your pitch.
I have a rule of thumb (especially on LinkedIn). If I connect or friend someone and they message me a pitch, I immediately unconnected or unfriend them.
When you pitch someone on social media you not only invade their personal DMs, but you tell them that you only see them as someone you can get something from.
No one likes to feel used.
What other tips have you heard when it comes to queries? We’d love to hear them in the comments.
When I first heard that I had to take a “one-sheet” to a writers conference, I thought, “One sheet of what?” My book was still mostly an idea in my mind, but it forced me to think through my book from beginning to end.
What Does a One-Sheet Do?
The one-sheet’s primary purpose is as an introductory tool so an agent or editor can get an idea of who you are and what your book is about. Its other purpose is to distract the editor while you take a few deep breaths and wipe your sweaty palms down the leg of your pants.
Though it’s important to keep the one-sheet professional, it will not make or break you. The majority of the time, the editor will scan it and hand it back, so you don’t even need a lot of copies.
What to Include in a One-Sheet:
All you need is your name, email address, and website. For safety reasons, leave your address and phone number off. If you’re represented by an agent, include his or her contact information.
Headshot and Bio
Keep the headshot professional and small. You have a lot of information to include, and your headshot doesn’t need to take up half the space. The same goes for your bio. Include relevant detail and provide a call-to-action for people to check out your website or social media platform.
Book Title and Blurb
Think of this as a back cover copy or a short synopsis. You’ll need a great hook as well as details about how the book progresses.
Include your approximate final word count (even if the work isn’t finished), genre, target audience, and how long it will take you to complete if it’s not done. If you have endorsements, include a couple here, as well. This gives the editor an idea of the type of book you’re pitching.
Your one-sheet should look beautiful. Make sure the image is relevant to your topic. My first one-sheet did not include a photo. It would have helped things tremendously. That said, keep the aesthetic of your one-sheet clean and don’t be afraid of white space or color.
“I would much rather you have a one-sheet (when pitching a project at a conference). So you have in front of you exactly what you want to pitch to me. And the pressure’s off. We can sit and talk . . . and you don’t have to worry that you didn’t say the right thing.”
Use a software program that is familiar to you. On non-Mac computers, you can use Microsoft Word or Publisher. For Mac fans, Pages works well. For photo editing, Canva and PicMonkey are great for adding text, editing, and resizing photos.
Keep your fonts readable—don’t use the Comic Sans font!—and don’t add anything that doesn’t belong. Your one-sheet not only reflects your book, but it reflects who you are as a writer.
My first one sheet was a disaster, but even so, I signed a contract three months after the conference. It’s important to remember that you and your ideas are the most important thing.
Do your best to make your one-sheet amazing, but at the end of the day, an editor or agent will work with you because they like your book idea and they like you.
“One sheets are fantastic resources. They help you remember what your book is about, when you get pitching jitters, and give agents and editors a great overview of your project.
Why are there deadlines? Are they good or bad? Britt Mooney and Steven Faletti discuss the reality of deadlines in traditional publishing, the positives and negatives of them, and how we can set deadlines and goals for ourselves in different ways. Then author MB Mooney shares Kepler, chapter 12 of the Singularity storyline. Listen and vote!
In this episode:
Why are deadlines important?
Are they good or bad for the creative process?
How can a self-published or unpublished author set deadlines?
When submitting to a publisher or an agent, it’s vital that your proposal and manuscript indicate the proper word count for your genre.
There are factors involved in why certain genres have varying word counts, including the cost for printing and how long a reader’s attention can be captured.
While each publisher may have their own limits and standards, this list can get you started. There are more rules for word count within sub-genres, and certain publishers may want word counts outside of this. Be sure to double check before submitting.